Rocky Gap offers need financing to succeed
Another slots dog & pony show. More lavish promises and optimistic plans. Annie Linskey covers Tuesday's public hearing on plans for Rocky Gap, the white-elephant resort that has failed to secure a slots developer for a while now. At least developers are interested:
One group that wants to open a casino at the Rocky Gap Lodge and Resort envisions amenities including five restaurants, a spa, a golf and tennis academy and an automobile museum. The other promises to invest $62 million to build a 50,000-square-foot gambling palace and stresses that its team has the experience to get the job done.
But all the plans and artist renderings in the world won't make a Rocky Gap offer work without financing. Developers need their own capital or a banker's to sink millions into this resort. And capital is hard to come by in this economy. Lack of financing has killed slots offers over and over. Lobbyist and former House Speaker Caz Taylor, who represents the Rocky Gap bondholders, said nice things about the offers to the Cumberland Times-News:
“Both proposals are quality proposals,” said Casper Taylor Jr., who represents bondholders in the resort. “This is good news for our local economy, which is in need of good news.”
That suggests bondholders could accept one of the offers instead of foreclosing on Rocky Gap. (The bondholders are the only party likely to get any money back from previous investments in Rocky Gap. Not the state.) But to pay the bondholders and invest in the property, developers have to come up with dough. Whether they can is not a sure thing.